"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Bookish and Other Thoughts

Just a few musings for this Saturday...

Middlemarch -- I started the Middlemarch by George Eliot read-along on July 27th. The goal is to read a chapter a day which means we'll (me and the other participants) finish the book toward the end of October. I lost my way almost immediately while on the family reunion vacation. But after reading two chapters a day for a week I am back on track. Two observations so far: The book isn't as daunting as my mind had it made up to be and yet reading two chapters/day is too much. So I will slowly creep along reading a chapter a day until its completion. I am not even sure why I wanted to read the book in the first place. It is as if I think in order to pass the life test I must prove I've read all the great classics before I die.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest -- I have an original paperback of this famous novel, a 1962 version. I think I've owned it since I was in college in the mid-1970s, probably purchasing it at the bookstore where I worked parttime while in school. Clearly I have carried the thing around with me long enough, I should have read it by now. Oddly somewhere along the way I bought another copy, forgetting about the first. This past week I finally decided it was time and began reading it. Man, the print is small. I wish I'd read it when my eyes were better. Ha!

Book club selections -- one of my book clubs meets this week. We will be making selections for the next three or four months. Our rather long list of options will likely stymie us. Can you offer any details on any of these books which will help us move the book up or down on the list? (The number in the parenthesis reflect how many members have expressed interest. There are eight members but one person hasn't weighed in.)
  1. I Have Some Questions for You by Makkai (3)
  2. Birnam Wood by Catton  (2)
  3. Maame by George  (5)
  4. Lady Tan's Circle of Women by See  (5)
  5. The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger (4)
  6. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett  (3)
  7. The Covenant of Water by Verghese (6)
  8. Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by McBride (6)
  9. The Rabbit Hutch by Gunty (3)
  10. Erotic Stories of Pujabi Widows by Jaswal (4)
  11. The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Dugoni (3)
  12. Our Missing Hearts by Ng (3)
    • Note, book club met on this past Wednesday and selected Tom Lake, The Covenant of Water, Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, and The Rabbit Hutch as our next four choices. All of us wanted most of the books and will hang on to the list for our next selection session but by then who knows what other books will shove their way onto it. I've read #1 and 12. That leaves me with only six I'll have to read on my own.

Big book season -- I read a headline the other day "We Are Entering Big Books Season". Of course, I didn't save the link but the headline gave me moment to pause and think. Is there a big book season? I participate in a yearly challenge during the summer months to read books over 400 pages (See Book by Book Big Book Summer Challenge.) I bet most people think that late fall or winter months are the best time to read long/big books, not summer when we should all be rollicking outside all the time. Well, this summer has turned into a 'big book summer' for me. I have spent more time inside escaping the heat than ever before. So far I have completed seven 400+page books since the challenge began on Memorial Day. While searching for the above mentioned headline I stumbled upon this blog post about 10 fantastic big books. Of the ten, I've read six and I loved them all. Guess I'm a big book gal after all!

A moment of community -- In this day and age it is rare to feel a sense of community very often. Yesterday Don and I were out for a drive in his little convertible. We were driving along a shaded road alongside a small lake when up ahead we noticed a car stopped with its flashers on. As we crept forward we saw the reason why. A tree had just fallen across the road. The man in the first car was attempting to clear what he could. My husband got out to help. One by one, two by two, so did people from the other cars. Soon 10+ people were working together on a common cause. The mess was cleared in no time. "Many hands make light work." As each person/couple wandered back to their cars, I couldn't help but think this is the way things are supposed to be -- all of us working on a similar project, pulling in the same direction.

Maui -- So many of my thoughts are turning to Maui after the disaster of this past week. We visited Lahaina for the first time this past February and have such fond memories of it. Our hearts are broken for all Hawaiians for the loss of a sacred space.

I purchased this beautiful signed print at the gift shop of the museum store near the magnificent banyan tree. Now it is a priced possession.


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